Squareware 95% funded
Hi there - here are some of the excerpts from the currently running Squareware campaign and developments I have been working on....
Hello everyone :) We're nearly there and I really appreciate all of your support. Hopefully a visit on Rob Twohy and Laerun's 'All Things Fantasy Grounds' stream show on the 12th Dec will bring in a surge of new backing. It is a noticeably slower time for Kickstarters in Nov-Dec due to pressures of Xmas, new Years, Holidays etc but I believe we'll get over the line soon and we don't need much to do it.
Regardless I have been working on some new features to add to the Electronic Squareware.
200 possible decor features for dungeons have been added, inc a small and large treasure table.
More advanced details on where in particular a random object, tool, treasure. feature, sound, trap, even npcs.etc appears in relation to the PC - with directional capability for X and Y dimensions meaning things might be generated beside you, to your left, a long way off from you, or a certain number of feet in a given direction. it might also occur above or below you as well - giving generated objects random movements within 3d space making for far more interesting rooms and descriptions. Cardinal directions are also featured now.
Suggested by James at Smiteworks when I showed him SW, I'm working on adding numerous descriptions the DM can generate to suit particular weapons and severity of attack. Detailing these is one of my natural strengths as a DM so it didn't occur to me to add it - but he asked - and I think its definitely a great extra feature to add. All of these extra bits can give a DM the option to fire off a result and buy time to think about what comes next without slowing the pace.
Still in progress - but a staple requirement for D&D and I will be adding this function too.
Now, one of the more annoying things I have noticed as a new DM is the absence of a player can at best delay a planned game, at worst cancel it. My tendency has been to move toward a more sand-box approach and think on ways to bypass this disruption should I be planning a campaign one even a long one-shot and I don't have a) enough players or b) a missing player. One solution I have devised to meet this challenge seems to me the most practical - but certainly one of the most ambitious. I'm sure you're familiar with the concept of the GM'd PC - I've heard it in passing and its when a GM takes over a PC, with mixed results and appreciation from players naturally. What I am attempting to do, and add to squareware, is create an Artificial PC with quasi-controlled AI that can step in to fill any gaps that prevent me from running a game because I am minus a player.
While free-form roleplay and involvement by the GM playing a PC is understandably a contentious issue - I plan to create the means for a PC to roll reactions in general and specific circumstances that govern what they do. How they do it, is over to the GM's creativity to fill in the blanks - but the instructions of the roll must be followed as that APC's course of action. To limit the mechanicality of going through the motions I am buildng an AI that can have changeable moods, comments in and for various situations, movement patterns, and attempting a very low-key experimental form of AI that will allow me (And You) to 'fudge' a PC when there isn't one. These core guidelines will run the PC without GM bias - with the GM simply creatively carrying them out as the dice instruct. While I have been developing concept such as 'Rapid-Shots' , 'Long-Shots' and other creative ways to approach playing D&D, I consider APCAI an 'emergency' service that will enable almost any show to go on.
Hello everyone :) I just live-tested a beta-version of squareware with the new APC function in a three-hour game I ran for for a complete newbie to Fantasy Grounds (Salamander) and a dab hand at FG (Jtron) in a one-shot I put together using only Squareware, my maps and my imagination and no prep. This enables me to see how best to set-out Squareware, how it can be improved to make it better, where there might be trouble spots and also what is working well.
This session attempted to use 'Tagalong' (my new APC) without any prior practice to test whether the way I have it now is going to work - and also how the players might react to him. It also gives you a chance to watch me DM and teach a new player a crash course in FG which you might also find useful if you want to start using it. I was taught everything I know from Fantasy Grounds College (check link below) which is where we hosted this game. This short quest showcases a lot of the amazing features FG has to offer as well as some of the reasons I am working closely with it. Feel free to add your own comments if you watch the video - or maybe even let me know if you want to join one of my games.
So keeping in mind I did no prep beyond clicking the Squareware buttons - I get access to a range of information that as a DM I need to 'sew' together into a seamless story. I have not edited this video beyond taking out some sections where I had to go AFK and checking to make sure there was nothing in it that would be beyond PG 13+ (nope) but I have listed a few time marks in case you want to skip me teaching Salamander some of the ropes.
Also I did try to embed this file as a vid into Kickstarter, (3g) but after patiently waiting 2 hours for it to do so it eventually told me 'this video cannot be uploaded'. awesome lol. So I've added it to my Gdrive and it can be downloaded from there...
0.00 I intro Squareware and my intended playtest goals to my players.
6.46 - I guide Salamander through how to use FG as a player inc. a brief combat session.
45.00 - The proper quest begins.
2:42 game ends.
2.52: video ends
Hey everyone - we've gotten pretty far on our own steam, almost over the line - but we need a push. I reached out to Doug and he is going to help by giving the campaign a shout-out from Smiteworks official media sources and add Squareware to the FG Weekly newsletter. Although its coming late in the campaign - I'll also be going onto Rob Twohys 'All Things Fantasy Grounds' show to talk about Squareware with him which might help drive extra traffic to us.
Incidentally in discussion with Doug regarding the APC concept - he mentioned how it might be employed by absent players to have their DM play them in accordance with pre-settings. I can see this being a possibility for a single player - or a single player and also having an APC, but more than that would be too overwhelming. Consider though, that as I evolve here - and I've already come this far - I will eventually learn how to create and code extensions. Once I learn that - there's no telling what I will be able to do with all of my other skills combined with the ability to tear things apart at their programming level and re-arrange them. I see a future where solo-gaming in FG is a possibility with players playing FG games on their own like semi-automated chess. With enough sophistication - a complete and even convincing AI is possible: with the User Interface becoming more and more adept over time.
I would really like to develop a sci-fi set of this concept - so fingers crossed. and If you can, please boost the signal and mention squareware to others.
In addition I have been working on getting hundreds more Meanders into Fantasy Grounds module packs:
This is just 5 of 12 new modules I have completed converting - with 4 Sci-fi packs also among them.
The last 2 weeks of the Squareware campaign will determine how things shape up for 2019 - if they go well, a campaign to fund the development of Geas and the participation of Rob Twohy and Devin Night as my coder and token supplier in early January. Alternately I will move Geas further down and go ahead with launching my Lost Mines: Maps for Phandelver campaign - and may even write a new adventure so the maps can be used traditionally and in a new story as well. Here's a sample: Krismaw Castle. Properly gridded, much larger and far more detailed these maps are designed to be used perfectly in Fantasy Grounds built with a 1" scale and greatly improved proportions.